Love it, or hate it, the iPod is a quintessential cool tool. That scrappy white-and-chrome mp3 player forged a legacy that permanently shifted the direction of personal technology in the 21st century.
I was first given a second-generation iPod as an early birthday present in 2002, almost a year after they were launched. It had yet to become an icon, but I was an instant convert. At 16, it was the first piece of technology I had owned that redefined what technology could be. It was perfectly functional, easy to use, and way ahead of the pack. It made technology beautiful and human.
I used that iPod every day for the next five-years (until the hard-drive inevitably and heroically failed). I learned to love music, in part, because it was always with me. While many may wax poetic about the glory days of vinyl, I will always remember building the perfect playlist on my iPod, and the comfort I found in knowing that no matter how long the bus or plane ride might be I’d have my music.
That yellowing, scratched-up, almost antique-looking iPod remains one of my most cherished possessions. It converted me into a Mac-user and a tech nerd. It was my first cool tool, and one that played no small part in cementing my passion for finding the best tools out there.
Thank you, Steve Jobs, for finding beauty and joy in technology. You will be missed.